One hour from: Athens

After an Aegean sunset, Greek gods go clubbing
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The Independent Travel

Escape the city heat and discover the attractions of the Apollo coast.

Escape the city heat and discover the attractions of the Apollo coast.

Kifissia

For cool, tree-lined streets, designer boutiques and swanky restaurants, head for this fashionable suburb at the end of the northern branch of the Metro. Hail a horse-drawn buggy and take a tour of the many flamboyant 19th-century mansions, or swot up on Greek flora and fauna at the Goulandris Natural History Museum.

By car: take Kifissia Avenue and follow signs; journey time approx 45 mins. By train: take the Metro north to Kifissia; journey time approx 20 mins.

Cape Sounion

The main attraction at Cape Sounion in southern Attica is the Temple of Poseidon, which dates from 444BC. The statue of Poseidon is long gone (it's now in Athens' National Archaeological Museum), but the remains of the Doric temple watch over the sparkling waters of the Aegean. Check out the much-overlooked ruined temple of Athena, goddess of wisdom. Arrive late in the day to escape the heat and the crowds and witness a beautiful sunset.

By car: take the coast road and follow signs; journey time approx one hour.

Piraeus

With its plethora of bars and clubs, playing everything from house to techno until dawn, Piraeus is nightlife nirvana. Athenians also come for the many excellent fish restaurants lining the bustling Mikrolimano Harbour. Hunt for bargains at the Sunday flea-market behind the Metro station.

By car: take the Piraeus road and follow signs; journey time approx 40 mins. By train: take the Metro to Piraeus; journey time approx 20 mins.

Vouliagmeni

As seaside resorts go, Vouliagmeni is one of the finest, packed with gorgeous Greeks, and a great getaway if you've overdosed on culture. The long sandy beaches have excellent facilities, including waterfront cafés. Vouliagmeni is also famous for its freshwater lake, fed by hot springs and said to cure all manner of ailments, from rheumatism to neuralgia. Be sure to visit the pine-clad peninsula with its ruined temple.

By car: take the coast road and follow signs; journey time approx 45 mins. By bus: frequent service from Constitution Square; journey time approx one hour.

Glyfada

The 18-hole, 72-par golf course at Glyfada is the best in the country. It covers a vast 150 acres and you are guaranteed a good game without having to queue. The entry fee also includes access to tennis and basketball courts and the facilities at nearby Glyfada beach.

By car: take the coastal road and follow signs; journey time approx 25 mins. By bus: frequent service from Constitution Square; journey time approx 40 mins.

Aegina

The closest to the mainland of the Saronic Gulf Islands (which also include Poros, Hydra, Spetses and Salamis), Aegina is a favourite weekend retreat of Athenians, so it's a good idea to visit on quieter weekdays. The island's Temple of Aphaia is the best-preserved Doric temple in Greece, set on a pine-covered hill and dating from 490BC, making it even older than the Parthenon. Go armed with binoculars – on a clear day you can see back to the Acropolis and Cape Sounion.

By ferry: frequent hydrofoil service from Piraeus; journey time approx 40 mins.

Cresta Holidays (0870 161 0900; www.uk.mytravel.com/cresta) offers three nights at the four-star Hotel St George Lycabettus from £406 per person, including return flights from Gatwick and transfers. Europcar (0870 607 5000; www.europcar.co.uk) offers weekend car hire in Athens from £74.10. For further information contact the Greek National Tourist Organisation (020-7734 5997; www.antor.com/greece).

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